The flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi was uneventful; Cramped, long and choppy. We were definitely happy to land in Nairobi. We breezed through customs and got our luggage rather quickly- a little banged up, but, all there, thank God. We proceeded to find a hotel to stay at the night prior to departing to Loki (Kakuma) the following morning. I was unsuccessful in reserving a place in Nairobi prior to our travels. I did, however, remember the name of a hotel that I had briefly researched while still in the states. We told the cabby to take us to the hotel Meridian in downtown Nairobi. We arrived at the hotel tired and ready to enter into our private rooms to debrief. We began unloading all of the equipment, hauling it into the hotel. As I was checking in, a man standing next to me with his back facing me, checking into a room as well. I hear the last name “Deng.” This name caught my attention and I proceeded to get a better look at this tall gentleman. To our surprise, and delight, it was Valentino Achak Deng. What a coincidence! I knew that Val would be traveling to Africa the same time we would, but I had no idea of what his itinerary was and even what country he would be in. It’s amazing that we ran into him late at night, having only been in Africa for less than 2 hours. Amazing! Valentino yelled out “NADUS” and we all hugged each other and soaked in the moment of surprise for a good 10 minutes. Though I had not planned on a place for us to stay in Narobi (and to be honest, quite dissapointed in myself for not having “things together”) it all worked out and made more sense than we could ever have imagined. Praise God!
Val and I had a good conversation about Nadus’ travels to Kakuma the following day. He is plugging us in with some high ranking people there at the camp.
We’ll be off to Kakuma tomorrow to film and begin showing the short film “Dear Sudan”. It is sure to be a taxing time on all of us; both physically and emotionally.
But for now, this evening is enough. It is one that will never be forgotten. What are the chances?!?